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Chihuahua Patellar Luxation - Everything You Have to Know

Chihuahua Patellar Luxation - Everything You Have to Know

Does your Chihuahua ever adorably hop across the room or in the street holding his or her back legs up? If your pet has never demonstrated any circus tricks like this, you probably saw those hilarious videos on the Internet. However, such adorable behavior is often a symptom of a pretty severe condition called Patellar Luxation.

This syndrome is pretty standard for Chihuahuas. In fact, your Chi has at least a 10% chance to develop it during its lifetime. The biggest problem with this condition is that most owners don’t see it as a big deal initially and hardly ever address veterinarians as soon as they notice the first symptoms. Eventually, the dog’s condition worsens, and proper treatment of Patellar Luxation starts when the condition reaches pretty severe stages, and the Chihuahua suffers from it for a while.

In this article, we shall explain what is Patellar Luxation, its dangers are for your Chihuahua, and how you can determine and treat it appropriately.



What is Chihuahua Patellar Luxation?


Patella is a knee cap. When your dog is healthy, the knee cap slides smoothly in and out while walking. It happens due to the fair groves at the base of the dog’s femur. If your Chihuahua suffers from Patellar Luxation, the knee cap slides off (usually to the side) out of its physiological placement.

It happens the Groove gets compressed, and the area becomes too small for the knee cap to fit into it. Eventually, the knee cap is forced to move to the sides – luxate, while your dog is walking.

The condition is pretty complex by its nature and partly due to the small size of a Chihuahua. There are two types of Patellar Luxation:

 Chihuahua Patellar Luxation

  • Medial – when a kneecap dislocates towards the dog’s body
  • Lateral – when the kneecap slips to the sides or away from the body.


It is crucial to determine what kind of Patellar Luxation your Chihuahua might be suffering from and provide adequate therapy as soon as possible. Like most motor conditions, this one tends to develop and worsen with time. Just one X-Ray is usually enough for an experienced veterinarian to get the complete picture.



Is There a Point in Treating Patellar Luxation in Chihuahuas?


Many owners think that as long as Patellar Luxation is typical for the breed, there is no point in treating it as long as the condition is a natural course of events for Chihuahuas. First of all, no medical condition (as long as it is not caused by aging) can be considered a natural course of events. If your Chihuahua is genetically predisposed for it, there is a big chance for its development.

Another essential thing to remember is that Patellar Luxation is a condition that tends to develop and worsen while not being appropriately addressed. In other words, by neglecting its symptoms, you consciously deprive your little fur baby of a chance to have a happy, healthy painless dog’s life.



Stages, Symptoms, and Outcomes Of Patellar Luxation in Chihuahuas.



  • I – in the beginning, your Chi may not demonstrate any severe symptoms and only “walk funny” from time to time. However, once you addressed a Vet and get the diagnosis, you can deal with the problem yourself at home. It is pretty easy to return the kneecap to its righteous place manually. However, make sure that an experienced vet shows you how to do it before experimenting on your furry friend.
  • II – most owners, notice symptoms of Patellar Luxation when it reaches stage II. They become pretty obvious when the dog walks, runs, or even simply stands in one place. The patella starts to slip from its place severely, causing actual discomfort to the dog. From this point, neglect can lead to the development of Arthritis and other severe motor system conditions.
  • III – from now on, the kneecap remains dislocated most of the time. You may notice that your Chihuahua became “lazy” or less mobile with only periodical cases of playfulness. Those breaks usually happen when the patella pops back for a while, relieving the discomfort. However, if your Chihuahua has already reached stage III patellar luxation, big chances those breaks will be only temporary, and the kneecap will slip out most of the time.
  • IV – in this case, the patella remains permanently dislocated. Most probably, your Chihuahua won’t run or jump and show severe symptoms while walking or even standing at one place. Once your Chi reaches this stage, surgery might be the only option to treat the condition.


How Do I Know Does My Chihuahua Suffers From Patellar Luxation?


Ironically, Patellar Luxation is pretty easy to determine once you have the dog for a while and know your Chihuahua’s behavior and habits. Still, most owners tend to neglect the most obvious symptoms:

 Signs Of Patellar Luxation In Chihuahuas

  • You Chihuahua starts walking differently. Patellar luxation affects dogs` back legs. As soon as you notice that your little pooch is trying to move weight forward while walking or standing, moves the back legs irregularly, or keeps them up while resting, there is a strong chance that you are facing Patellar Luxation.
  • The dog whimpers or makes “funny” sounds while walking. If your Chi suddenly started whimpering or yelping from time to time while moving or jumping, the Patellar Luxation might have already reached stage II or even III causing bones rub-on on each other painfully
  • Your dog became less active. An animal in pain will simply do its best to avoid painful situations. If you noticed that your formerly active and playful Chi preferred to spend all day in the crate or other resting place, it might be a symptom of Patellar Luxation or even Arthritis as its most common outcome.

It is essential to address a Vet as soon as you notice the first warning signs. That way, you will save your dog from prolonged suffering, and the treatment of the problem itself will be simpler and less invasive the sooner you get down to it. Remember that in most cases, neglected Patellar Luxation leads to the development of Arthritis – a painful chronic condition that will compromise your dog’s health and lifespan.



How to Treat Patellar Luxation in Chihuahuas?


Unfortunately, Patellar Luxation treatment is not the case when you give your dog some kind of a pill or medicine for a couple of weeks, and the issue disappears. Once your Chihuahua started to demonstrate the first symptoms and the vet diagnosed Patellar Luxation, all you can do is to observe your dog’s lifestyle and prevent further development of this condition.

Once your Chi is at stage I or II of Patellar Luxation, make sure that he or she avoids jumping on and off the furniture or standing on the back legs. Those situations most commonly lead to kneecap dislocation. Try to arrange your house in a way that your Chihuahua does not have to jump to his or her bed or the couch. Most owners solve this problem by placing additional poofs or stairs next to the table or spending more time with the dog on the floor.

Luxating Patella In Dogs

Suppose your Chi has reached stages III or even IV. In that case, surgery might be the only treatment option that will prevent severe health complications and side effects like Arthritis. The surgery involves widening the Groove where the patella slides, along with repositioning the necessary ligaments and tightening the capsules. On the one hand, it might be the most efficient solution. However, it has numerous pitfalls even when performed by a high-class veterinarian. Anesthesia, the procedure itself, and rehabilitation may appear pretty harsh for a Chihuahua, especially if your pet has other health complications and peculiarities. Therefore, surgical treatment is considered only if the dog shows distinctive symptoms of physical suffering and there are first signs or acceptable risk of development of Arthritis and other permanent motor system conditions.

You must consider that Patellar Luxation at any stage alters your dog’s regular walking increasing the pressure on joints that might not even be located in the affected legs. That is why no matter which stage of the disease your Chihuahua may have, you should consider food supplies and physiotherapy that would prevent arthritis development.






Remember that although Patellar Luxation is considered to be one of the signature conditions among Chihuahuas, the symptoms described above may point out numerous other diseases and issues. Therefore, only a vet can properly diagnose and treat Patellar Luxation. Make sure to address for qualified consultation as soon as you notice the first signs and follow the vet’s directions primarily to avoid the condition’s development and worsening.

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